TEDx event aims to inspire and empower youth in Buffalo

Mar 28, 2014

An event held at Buffalo State College Thursday focused on inspiring young people to follow their dreams. The TEDxYouth at Buffalo conference offered students the opportunity to hear the stories of local leaders.

President and Founder of You and Who Dan Gigante speaking at the TEDxYouth @Buffalo conference.
Credit Ashley Hirtzel / WBFO News

President and Founder of You and Who Dan Gigante told the story of how he started his t-shirt company, which donates one shirt to a person in need in the united states for every shirt it sells. Gigante says during the conference he wanted to encourage young people not to be afraid to make their goals a reality.

“What I love about saying ‘it’s not win or lose”, “it’s win or learn” is there’s no losing, so go for it, because anything that happens is a learning experience and it just makes you stronger for the next time. So, it really takes the fear away and I think that’s what’s helped me. I’m not afraid to do anything, because I know nothing bad is going to happen, it’s just a learning experience,” said Gigante.

16-year-old Marivi Howell-Arza is a junior at Buffalo Seminary Preparatory School in Buffalo. She delivered a message to youth about the power of positive thinking through a story about learning how to drive. She says she hopes students learn that if they’re confident, they can spark change in their own life.

TEDxYouth@Buffalo conference at Buffalo State College.
Credit Ashley Hirtzel / WBFO News

“It doesn’t matter what other people tell you good or bad as long as you believe you can achieve something you will achieve it, and it’s just as simple as that. So, if these kids can leave here with goals and self reassurance and a way to build themselves up and become what they want to be than that’s exactly what my goal is,” said Howell-Arza.

The TEDxYouth at Buffalo conference is modeled after the global Technology, Entertainment and Design or TED conference, but focused on empowering young people locally. Students ages 16 to 24 from high schools and colleges across western New York attended the half-day event.

During the event students were able to network with community leaders, watch videos, and enjoy a dance party with a professional

TEDxYouth independent organizer Christina Lopez says the theme of this year’s conference was ‘Imagine That Buffalo.’

“The whole purpose of the TEDxYouth event is to share ideas that inspire and ideas that people can latch on to, get involved in their communities, and spread those ideas and start to make change within their own communities.”

D.J. Lopez says she hopes the young attendees leave feeling empowered to spark change. Video of the conference will soon be available online.